by Kathy Drasky
Two new strategies aimed at ending immigration discrimination against same-sex binational couples need your support.
For a long time, the mainline strategy to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) has been to get it included in the larger Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIr movement. This is a good strategy, and one that will continue, but considering the current and upcoming climate in Washington, we need to try other avenues equally.
Lavi Soloway, a long-time champion of equal rights for same-sex binational couples (and one of the founders of Immigration Equality) is an immigration attorney whose new project "Stop the Deportations" works with same-sex binational couples legally married in the states, jurisdictions and countries that recognize gay marriage.
There's been much discussion about the word "marriage" in our movement over the years - but let's not forget, same-sex marriage is legal in 5 US states. There are 18,000 same-sex couples with valid marriage licenses in the state of California, and a handful of states have agreed to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Additionally, a handful of countries and municipalities perform gay marriages. The problem with our marriages - as you all know - is getting federal recognition of them in the US, where immigration law lies.
"Stop the Deportations" is currently representing 6 same-sex binational couples who are legally married to stop the deportations of the foreign partner from the US. They are looking for more of you to tell your stories and be part of this effort which could, indeed turn out to be huge. If you are in a same-sex binational relationship and married, or if you would be married if the place you lived in permitted it, get in touch with "Stop the Deportations": http://stopthedeportations.blogspot.com/
Another fierce advocate for our cause, Melanie Nathan, who most of you know from her column on LezGetReal and her work on the Shirley Tan private bill in 2009, needs your help in securing a grant for a stop-gap "special visa" project for same-sex binationals: http://scr.bi/bUqaIE
Melanie has long believed that a special visa for our foreign partners (similar to the fiancee visa opposite-sex binational couples can obtain) is a viable way to keep our families together while we wait out this long and tenuous legislation process (be it UAFA as a standalone bill, as part of CIR, or a repeal of DOMA).
To win the grant, Melanie needs to show some level of financial support from our community. You can make a pledge now at this link: http://scr.bi/bUqaIE
The pledge will only be collected if Melanie wins the grant. She should have news about the grant's chances within a few weeks.
If you would like more info about either of these projects, please contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org